Gambian government launches five-year plan to end irregular migration among youth

The Gambian government has launched the ‘Youth and Trade Roadmap’, a five-year plan to address irregular migration among Gambian youth.

According to Refworld a UNHCR online protection tool, Gambia is among the top nations of origin for the approximately 93,000 mainly West African and Asian migrants who have arrived in Italy this year.

Despite the fact that most Gambian migrants are unlikely to obtain asylum, Italy, like most EU states, has seen very little success in forcibly returning migrants to their home countries or persuading them to leave voluntarily.

It also stated, that economic factors like unemployment and lack of entrepreneurial opportunities are believed to be a major force pushing Gambian youth to migrate to Italy and other EU countries.

To help mitigate this issue, the Gambian government’s “Youth and Trade Roadmap” is designed to support youth employment and entrepreneurship throughout the country by tackling the root causes of youth unemployment and helping young Gambians obtain the skills necessary to flourish in competitive markets.

While unveiling the project, Gambia’s Vice President Fatoumata Jallow-Tambajang said, “my government is fully committed to leading and implementing the Youth and Trade Roadmap to turn the tide of youth migration,” adding that the roadmap directly supports Gambia’s new National Development Plan to empower youth. The National Development Plan precedes the Youth Trade Roadmap.

The launch of the roadmap will be followed by consultations among public agencies, the business community, training institutions, and youth across Gambia.

The government will receive assistance from international partners including the International Trade Centre (ITC) to assist them in the process of designing and implementing the Roadmap, while the European Union’s (EU) Emergency Trust Fund for Africa will provide financial support.

According to the EU Ambassador to Gambia, Attila Lajos, youth empowerment and employment are strategic priorities for the nation. “The hopes and expectations of the youth, including the returnees, should not be deceived, and this increases the need to adopt measures for entry-level job creation,” he said.

Henry Gomez, Minister of Youth and Sports, said he was pleased that the development of the roadmap followed an inclusive process with the participation of youth, the public and the private sectors, as well as civil society.

International Trade Centre (ITC) Executive Director Arancha González emphasised her institution’s desire to work with Gambia to help young people move from being job seekers to job creators through trade. “The roadmap will serve as a guiding compass to bolster competitiveness and develop economic opportunities for youth, in line with the government’s priorities,” she said.

Through its Youth Empowerment Project (YEP), the International Trade Centre (ITC) plans to build market-oriented skills for young Gambians, while trying to reinvigorate various sectors of the economy including the cultivation of nuts, agricultural-processing, information and communications technologies, as well as tourism during the course of the roadmap’s implementation.

A youth activist and member of the National Youth Council Omar Jammeh urged partners to help educate young people, especially in the area of entrepreneurship.
“We need to be equipped with a business mind-set and entrepreneurial skills to become our own engines of growth,” he said.


Photo Credit: Etheine Sylva
Gambian Vice President Fatoumata Jallow-Tambajang delivering a statement during the launch of the five-year plan

TMP – 28/06/2018